We’ve written about Google’s plans for a self-driving care before and, last October, we explained how prototypes had already covered 190,000 miles across the USA’s West Coast as part of their testing.
Last week, however, Google released a video that shows one of the cars in actual use on the public highway — that is with someone who doesn’t work for Google sitting behind the wheel.
That person was Steven Mahan, who has been unable to drive since losing most of his sight and being declared legally blind.
Using the Google car, Steve was able to run errands around town, which included picking up his dry cleaning and using a drive-through fast food restaurant.
Google admits that the route was pre-programmed, but doesn’t state to what degree — presumably the technology isn’t yet nature enough to tap “dry cleaner’s” into the car computer and have it set off unassisted.
The traffic conditions the car has to cope with are done so in real-time though, so what you can see in the video is how the car handles junctions and turns across the oncoming traffic.
The US State of Nevada has already approved self-driving cars for use on its roads, which means people will soon be able to drive around Las Vegas legally — albeit only with a minimum of two people in the car, according to the current legislation.
It’s still very early days to say when self-driving car technology will be commercially available though, but Audi, BMW and Toyota all working on their own systems, it seems likely that it will happen sooner rather than later.